Many Wanted Axl Rose To Fail During AC/DC Gig, Mark Rivera Explains

Billy Joel’s saxophonist Mark Rivera revealed to Appetite for Distortion the time when they shared the same stage with Axl Rose at Dodger Stadium and even shared Axl’s gig the following night with AC/DC that almost everyone wanted him to fail and not be able to carry the set.

Guns N’ Roses frontman had the chance to fill in for Brian Johnson when the singer had to pull out of AC/DC’s 2016’s ‘Rock Or Bust World Tour’ due to hearing issues. Johnson had punctured his left eardrum after forgetting to put on earplugs during a race, so he was advised to stop touring as it might be dangerous for him to continue if he pushed himself.

When Johnson had to pull out unexpectedly, the band decided to bring in Axl to finish the remainder of the tour. However, fans had reserved feelings about the decision since Johnson had been the band’s frontman for over four decades at that point.

Rivera recalled that it was big shoes to fill for Rose, and it was made more challenging since most people wanted to see him fail and not put on a great show. But Mark also shared that the performance was a crazy moment as Rose performed with his swagger, and it was an unforgettable night.

Mark Rivera’s words about Axl Rose’s performance with AC/DC read:

“I believe they were playing the following night. They were sharing our stage; no one knew, and if I remember right, he was doing AC/DC; it wasn’t a Guns N’ Roses show.”

“Look, I’m very good friends with Brian Johnson and the guys; that band is iconic. Billy [Joel] actually inducted them into the Hall of Fame, and you know I, and not to say anything, this one didn’t do that, but those are insane shoes that Axl [Rose] had to jump into and did a great job; he did a great job; it was very tough. It’s almost like people wanted it to fail.”

He added:

“That gig must have been… But the gig itself at Dodgers, first of all, I’m playing Dodger Stadium again baseball it’s Dodger Stadium, and now Ax is going to come up and do ‘Highway To Hell,’ and then he came up and sang, was it ‘You May Be Right’ at the end? I beg your pardon; it was ‘Big Shot,’ yes, good man, and it was crazy. I mean, and he’s got that outfit, he’s got the swagger, he’s got the whole thing. I’m like, ‘Wow, this is really crazy, man; this is crazy what’s going on here.'”

After Johnson received an experimental treatment from a professional to help with his hearing, he was able to get better and be back on stage with his AC/DC bandmates. Even though it was a stressful time for him and Axl, even the fans, at the end of the day, everyone returned to their original positions and have been going ever since.